Last month, members of the Holmdel Township Police Department offered a solemn salute to officers killed in the line of duty by attending the 35th Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service at the Grand Auditorium in Ocean Grove.
“It’s an extremely moving program, and obviously one I wish we didn’t have to attend,” said Holmdel Police Captain Frank Allocco.
Allocco attended the memorial service with fellow Holmdel Police Officers Chief John Mioduszewski, Lt. Jeff Ackerson, Lt. Robert Phillhower, Sgt. Charles Groder, Det. Sgt. Edward Martinez, Det. Andrew Kret, Det. Eric Hernando, Ptrl. Christopher Broglia, Ptr. Brian O’Keefe, Ptrl. David D’Arcy, and Ptrl. Thomas Struble.
Founded in 1984 by former Holmdel Police Chief R. Bruce Phillips, the ceremony was initially held for years at the nearby PNC Bank Arts Center – formerly the Garden State Arts Center – before relocating to the historic Grand Auditorium in Ocean Grove.
The memorial service is a way to remember all officers who have lost their lives protecting and serving citizens across New Jersey, including those who have fallen more than a century ago, including former Newark officer Maxwell Badgley, who was killed in the line of duty in 1854.
At the ceremony, the fallen are recognized with black sheets placed over empty chairs, and a rose positioned on the seat.
Officers and honor guard members from around the state attended the memorial, at which the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School band played and West Windsor-Plainsboro High Schools North & South Concert Choirs performed “Danny Boy.”
Asbury Park Police Officer Tyron McAllister also performed “You Raise Me Up,” while Officer Michelle Koroseta and the Florence Police Department performed “Amazing Grace: The Policeman’s Tribute.”
Keynote speakers included New Jersey’s 61st Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, and John Ciuppa, the President of the Garden State Concerns of Police Survivors.
There were six new chairs added at this 35th ceremony.
“It’s a way we honor and remember those we have lost. We may be part of separate departments, but New Jersey’s police officers are all part of the same family,” added Capt. Allocco. “You wish you wouldn’t have so many names on there to honor. Unfortunately the list keeps growing, and we feel strongly about giving them the respect they deserve.”
The 2019 memorial honored the following:
- Police Officer Steven J. Tursellino – Port Authority PD NY/NJ – End of Watch: Sept. 13, 2013
- Sergeant Lawrence Michael Craig – Carteret Police Department – End of Watch: Aug. 15, 2016
- Special Agent Mark C. Johnson – Federal Bureau of Investigation – End of Watch: Sept. 12, 2017
- Lieutenant Christopher Robateau – Jersey City Police Department – End of Watch: Jan. 5, 2018
- Police Officer Tamby Yagan – Paterson Police Department – End of Watch: April 22, 2018
- Trooper Robert E. Nagle – New Jersey State Police – End of Watch: Nov. 26, 2018